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JAN 13, 2016

More and more businesses are waking up to theimportance of data as a strategicresource. Yesterday,
researchreleasedbytheEconomistIntelligenceUnitreportedthat 60% of theprofessionalstheyquizzedfeelthat data
isgeneratingrevenuewithintheirorganizations and 83% sayitismakingexistingservices and products more profitable.

Aftersurveying 476 executivesfromaroundtheworld, itfoundthatthosebased in Asia are leadingtheway – where 63%

saidthey are routinelygeneratingvaluefrom data. In the US, the figure was 58%, and in Europe, 56%.

Thismakesitclearthatbusinesses are finding more and more ways to turn data intovalue, but at thesame time,
thereportfound, many are hittingstumbling blocks which are frustratingthoseefforts. Just 34% of
respondentssaidthattheyfeeltheirorganizations are “veryeffective” at beingtransparentwithcustomersabouthow data
isused. And 9% saytheyfeelthatthey are “totallyineffective” in thisarea, which can be verydetrimental to buildingtheall-
importantcustomer trust.

Forbusinessesthat are builtaroundcustomer data (orthosewhich are repurposing to be so), customer trust
isabsolutelyessential. Wehaveseenthatpeople are becomingincreasinglywilling to handover personal data in
returnforproducts and servicesthatmaketheirliveseasier. Howeverthatgoodwill can evaporate in
aninstantifcustomersfeeltheir data isbeingusedimproperly, ornoteffectivelyprotected.

Thereportstatesthat ‘Big Data analysis, orthemining of extremelylarge data sets to identifytrends and patterns,
isfastbecoming standard businesspractice.

“Global technologyinfrastructure, too, has matured to anextentthatreliability, speed and security are
alltypicallyrobustenough to supporttheseamlessflow of massivevolumes of data, and consequentlyencourageadoption.”

Italsogoeson to suggestthat more and more businesses, takingcuesfrom online giantssuch as Facebook and Google, are
positioningthemselves as data-firstoperations, builtentirelyaround data collection, analysis and redistribution – as
opposed to simplyusingit as a source of businessintelligence.

59% of respondentssaidthattheyconsider data and analytics to be “vital” to therunning of theirorganizations, with a

further 29% deemingit “veryimportant”.

Theincreasingavailability of cloudprocessing, analytics and storageservices has undoubtedlyopenedthefloodgates in

terms of making Big Data drivenanalyticsaccessible to businesses of allsizesacrossmany industries. But I
feelthissurveyalso backs up warningsthat I, and others, havebeenvoicingforsome time. Data, particularly Big Data,
isanalmostinfinitelyempoweringasset – butits use can be limited, orit can evenbecome a liabilityifitisn’tbacked up by a
robust (and regulator-compliant) strategy. [477 words]

Interestingly, justunderhalf of thosesurveyed (47%) saythattheir data analyticsislimited to data

theyhavecollectedthemselves – throughinternalprocesses, commercialactivity and customerservices. I
wouldexpectthisnumber to shrink in comingyears, as more and more organizationsbecomeaccustomed to adding data
providedbythirdpartiessuch as data wholesalers and governmentsintothe mix. [539 words]

Anotherstatisticwhichstoodout to me wasthat 69% feelthereis a business case withtheircompanies to set up a

dedicatedinternal data and analyticsunit, withthepurpose of exploring new ways to addvaluethrough data projects.
Thisisprobablydrivenbythefactthat 48% feelthattheirorganizationshave, in thepast, failed to takeadvantage of
opportunities to capitalizeontheir data. I fullyexpect to seededicated data teams and
workinggroupsbecomeanincreasingly vital piece of corporateinfrastructureoverthenextfewyears, wellbeyond industries
such as tech and financewherethey are alreadycommonplace. [646 words]

Overall, itseemsbusinesses are fairlyconfidentabouttheirability to keepour data safe – with 82% sayingthattheir data
protectionprocedures are “very” or “somewhat” effective. However, weknowthatlargescaletheft of customer data
fromcorporationsisanever-growingproblem. Executives at organizations hit bythistype of crimerecently – such
as Anthem, TalkTalk and the US Government – werepresumablyfairlyconfidentthattheirsystemsweresafetoo –
untiltheydiscoveredthattheyweren’t. Thereportalsomakesitclearthat data breaches are certainlynotlimited to
thehighprofileincidentsthatreceivecoverage in the media. In fact, fairlyshockingly, 34% of
respondentssaidthattheirbusinesseshadsuffered “significant” data breacheswithinthepast 12 months. [770 words]

The EIU report, which can be read in full here, makesitclearthatadoption of Big Data drivenstrategies has come on in
leaps and boundsduringthelastyear. Howeveritisalsoequallyclearthatthereisstill a longway to
gountileverybusinessissecureenough in itsinfrastructure to transition to a fully data drivenbusinessmodel. [834 words]